1 Corinthians 2.9

“No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

I spent 3 hours painstakingly painting that verse on a crinkled brown piece of paper I had saved from the wrappings on a bouquet of flowers. The painting didn’t turn out that great. It’s hard to get the letters straight and the same size. And it’s not really bold enough on the wall because I painted the letters too skinny.

But it was good for my heart to slowly write those words. It forced me to think on what they mean.

It’s the end of week 4 of joblessness. 40 applications, 3 interviews, 10 resume drop offs, 3 nanny websites plus craigslist, 200 website checks for new positions, 20 nights sitting home alone.

It’s getting a little old. A little frustrating, a little boring, a little discouraging, a little lonely.

But God says that his plans for me bigger than my imagination. I suppose that means that I could end up with some crazy good job that impacts someone’s life in a huge way. Or that he moves us to some foreign country to do missions. Or that I have an opportunity to take a photography class and somehow become a famous photographer…or writer or crafty person or whatever. Or I suppose it could mean he leads me into some not so great situation that as far as I’m concerned kind of a bummer…but uses it to change lives that I don’t even know about. Whatever it is…I know I can trust him to find me the right job at the right time.

I love him. So in the end of the big picture…I will have an impact that is beyond anything I’ve ever seen, heard of, or even imagined.

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to be real

It has been along time. And my excuses are not that impressive:

I forgot.

I don’t write if I don’t have anything noteworthy to say. Which is a bad habit for any writer. Brilliance doesn’t come when you’re sitting around waiting for it.

I learned that depression is real and not made up by overly dramatic people. One result of continuous bummed-outness is a downward plunge in the desire to be social or communicative…even on blogs.

It’s not necessarily healthy to indulge my tendencies to seclusion; but being depressed doesn’t make it any easier to transform my introvertedness into something social…ish.

I hate admitting my struggle with depression. It’s far from the horrors it could be, and I feel guilty knowing my sadness can’t even compare to degree others suffer from it. Things in my life are actually pretty swell too so it feels like I’m overreacting to nothing. If anything I should be overjoyed with life right now.

But there’s no doubt it’s real. There’s clear moments where I know I’m not being silly, emotional, or exaggerating my feelings. My heart rate goes up, irrational fear fills me, and it feels like I’m watching myself do normal life from a dark dirty corner. Literally.

For years I firmly believed that depression was sin. Black and white. A person saved by Jesus should be constantly ecstatic. He has saved me, loved me, showed me mercy, grace and forgiveness literally without measure. He is so much bigger than my pain or problems. If sadness hits…it seems only true that God’s goodness in me should so dwarf my pain that dwelling on it would be wrong.

And maybe so…

But what about all those times in the Bible where Yahweh himself is sad:

Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the LORD. And he was grieved by their misery.    Judges 10.16

Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland.    Psalm 78.40

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.     Ephesians 4.30

Then Jesus wept.     John 11.35

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it.     Luke 19.41

And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.     Luke 22.44

Jesus was in such emotional turmoil about what his circumstances that he even asked the Father if there was another way. Jesus was perfect.

God himself is sad and upset by the messed-upness of this world. The people he made in his very own likeness whom he dearly loves and adores live in a chaotic horrific world that leaves them broken at every turn. Not to mention the way we have relentlessly hurt his heart and abused his love many times over.

God knows better than anyone how well things will end. How at the end of it all, his church will be saved, and the world will be as it was supposed to be when it was made. He does not doubt his own plan, goodness, and love. But he’s still sad. The reality of goodness doesn’t mean we have to deny the reality of pain. Both are equally true.

And as far as my own little crying heart goes…that’s pretty much all it has figured out. To not deny the realness of the pain. And to recognize that there are legitimate reasons for sadness and even depression.

Still, joy is a learning curve. It takes practice, choice, and guts. And this I don’t have figured out. I can choose joy…but I squash the sad. Or I give into the sad and can’t choose joy. Both are wrong.

But I realize…I’m excited to learn. It may take years and years. But my Savior will not leave me treading water. He will teach me how to balance grief and joy and I will know him better for experiencing both.

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…cody still holds true to his promise to never let me go a day without flowers . it’s 2 1/2 years…

God’s writing

‘Don’t you think it’s rather nice to think that we’re in a book that God’s writing? If I were writing a book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right–in the way that’s best for us.’

‘Do you really believe that, Mother?’ Peter asked quietly.

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘I do believe it–almost always–except when I’m so sad that I can’t believe anything. But even when I don’t believe it, I know it’s true–and I try to believe it.’

Edith Nesbit
The Railway Children

12/17

12.17 – one of the worst and one of the best times in my life.

12.17.2009  – it was 5 months after China and I was brewing espresso for small town folks when my mom called me…sobbing. and I learned that my reason for traveling to China had died. from a sick heart that had miraculously gotten her through 5 years of life. she is the reason I will have a Chinese daughter someday.

10219_1146731521746_6852689_nMei Mei

12.17.2011 – began with a train trip to Seattle, progressed with tiny coffee houses, pikes place, macy’s escalators, packed lunch and ginger beer. I worked hard at convincing myself during a whole day of fabulousness that there would be no ring today…and succeeded. 10 minutes later he was on his knee.  395408_2651454458879_1981130058_n

motherly wisdom

very possibly the wisest wisdom ever given me was this:

‘god loves his children so much that he will stop at nothing to make sure they know that. he let his only son die so we would know that. how much less is my marriage, and our family than that?’

spoken by my mother after things fell apart. from there i first began to understand the incredibly different, vast, jealous love of god.

i began to understand how furiously hurtful that love is. how it will cut and take away and bend…mercilessly.

it is not like our love. we love by giving admiration, respect, affection, and affirmation. because we don’t know what is best in the ultimate end of time. we love for the necessity of companionship. to get each other through life.

but god knows what we need. he knows what is best in the ultimate end of time. and his love cannot let us stay who we are when he knows he can make us so much more.

it’s like a doctor allowing someone close to live under an ailment, knowing full well that some surgery and pain will bring complete new life to that person.

and so god crushes us. he crushed himself first. he knows that at the end we will be able to understand a bit more how great his love is for us.

and there is nothing better than to know the love of god.